Category Archives: Photography

Celebrity Time Travelers

I know nothing about Ard Gelinck except that he lives in the Netherlands and he creates these wonderful collages of well-known people at various stages of their lives.

Read the images any way you want. Is Gelinck just showing the inevitable results of time and gravity and living, or is he illustrating the fantasy of being able to go back in time and teach your younger self all the life lessons you’ve learned over the years?

He’s charitable in his selection of subjects. There are no Dorian Greys in his gallery. Gelinck avoids the easy but cruel choice of pairing a picture of, say, the young Jan Michael Vincent with a contemporary photo, for instance.

I found these images on Bored Panda, where you can find many more.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

Madonna

Madonna

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks

Sting

Sting

George Michael

George Michael

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Café Hofburg and Hinterholz Bar-Restaurant — The Last of Vienna

I suppose you can tell from the increased frequency of my postings that I’m trying to wrap things up before midnight on 31 December. It’s my final New Year’s Resolution of 2018. A whole new list of highly-unlikely-to-be-completed projects and self-improvements goes into effect on 1 January 2019.

So I’m ending these Vienna notes with this entry about two v different restaurants.


Café Hofburg

Café Hofburg is in the inner courtyard of the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburg dynasty. Today the Hofburg is the residence of the President of Austria. I was there to visit three of the Hofburg’s museums: The Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Silver Collection.

But first came lunch.

Wiener Schokolade

Wiener Schokolade

Hot chocolate, of course. It was Vienna, and it was late Fall. This drink came with whipped cream and a shot of rum.

Wiener Schnitzel

Another Austrian tradition. For the first time this trip, I had Wiener Schnitzel, with potato salad.

The meal was all right, but, once again, it was the location rather than the food that was the star here. After lunch, I headed for the Silver Collection and the other museums.

Imperial Table Settings

More Imperial Table Settings

For more on the Hofburg museums, including a lot of pictures, check out the posting from my first visit to the Hofburg in 2014.


Hinterholz Bar-Restaurant

Hinterholz

Hinterholz

You might think, on entering Hinterholz Bar-Restaurant, that you were in a classic dive. The first room you see is dimly lit and a bit shabby. As Raymond Chandler once wrote about another location, “a great deal of expense had been spared” on the decor. The sound system played mostly American rock from the 60s – 80s. Occasionally you might catch a whiff of marijuana from the Hemp Box Cafe next door.

But there’s a lot more to Hinterholz than that first room. You can explore the Hinterholz in 360° here.

I really liked this place. It had no pretensions and no attitude. The food was both good and hardy, and the portions were huge, even by American standards.

Traditioneller Zwiebelrostraten

Traditioneller Zwiebelrostraten

This was my braised beef with onions and roasted potatoes. It was priced moderately for a single portion, but the dish would have easily served two.

I liked it so much that I returned a couple of days later.


And that’s it for both my 2018 Fall trip and for my postings for the year.

Best wishes to all, for a much better 2019!

The Third Man, and Café Mozart

That scene contains the most frequently quoted passage from The Third Man, and as it ends, you can hear part of Anton Karas’s famous musical score, played on the zither.

The Third Man is a classic 1949 film noir set among the ruins of Vienna during the post-WWII occupation. An American, Holly Martins, spends much of the movie trying to find out what happened to his friend and potential employer, the mysterious Harry Lime. The film, with Joseph Cotten as Martins and Orson Welles as Lime, was written by Graham Greene and directed by Carol Reed. With that much talent involved, it’s not surprising that the British Film Institute named it as the greatest British film of all time.*

I’ve mentioned that one of my little side projects on this trip was an exploration of some of the historical cafés and coffee houses of Vienna. Here’s how The Third Man fits in.

Café Mozart is identified by name in the movie, but the scene that was set there was actually filmed at another Vienna café. The real significance of Café Mozart is that this is where Graham Greene worked on the script.


Coincidence

As I headed for the café, I walked past this building, and recognized it immediately.

In The Third Man, this is the entrance to Harry Lime’s apartment building. It looks unchanged from when the film was made in the 1940s.


Café Mozart

Café Mozart

Café Mozart

Café Mozart can trace its origins back to 1794, and was renovated in 1994.

Café Mozart Interior. Image found on the Web.

Café Mozart Interior. Image found on the Web.

Knowing myself as well as I do, I realized that once I was comfortably seated in a nice warm cafe, drinking a nice hot cup of chocolate, it would take an enormous effort to get me back onto the cold, windy streets of the city.

Mozart Schokolade

Mozart Schokolade

Hot chocolate, with a chocolate and pistachio sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

Cream Cheese Dumplings

Dumplings

Cream Cheese Dumplings on a berry compote.

Let’s just say I stayed a little longer than I’d planned, and much longer than was absolutely necessary. But can you think of a more pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a chilly afternoon?


*A solid choice, although I’d probably go with Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Another Day, Another Christmas Market

The most popular Christmas Market in Budapest is on Vörösmarty Square, right in front of Café Gerbeaud. It’s one of my favourites—I’ve been there more than a dozen times, by day and by night. Day visits are a joy, and nights are even better.

Repeat visits are easy, since the market is open every day from early November through New Year’s Day, usually from 10 AM – 9 PM.

Like most Christmas Markets, this one has booths selling anything and everything even vaguely related to the holidays, or to winter in general, or to the seasonal decoration of houses, preferable in shades of red and green. Where it really excels, though, is in the quality and variety of its food offerings.

If you aren’t currently in Budapest, Look on these Booths, ye Hungry, and despair!*


*Shelley wrote “Ozymandias” in 1818, so this year is its 200th anniversary. My trivia fact du jour.

The Restaurant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, with Beef Goulash and a Side of Bruegel

Since my last posting in November, I’ve been in Vienna, except for one quick sidetrip to Budapest. I’m back in DC now, and I’ll be posting some travel pictures over the next few weeks. Not too many, though, because my last visits to both cities were fairly recent—I spent a couple of weeks in Vienna back in 2014, and some time in Budapest just last year. You can find those earlier posts in the archives. Rather than rehash my notes on museums and galleries, I’ll probably write more about restaurants and street scenes.

One of the reasons I returned to Vienna so soon was that the Kunsthistorisches Museum was commemorating the 450th anniversary of the death Pieter Bruegel the Elder by hosting a massive Bruegel exhibition. Over the past few years, I’ve developed something of an obsession with Bruegel—with all the Bruegels, really, and there are about half a dozen notable artists in that one extended family.

But for the reasons I posted above, I’m not going to post new images from the exhibition.  I’ve already posted a selection of Breugel paintings, which you can see at these links from my last visit to Kunsthistorisches Museum and from my trip to Brussels last Spring. Instead, I’m going to focus on something almost as important.


The Café-Restaurant at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Image found on the Web.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
—Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

“Small minds discuss people; average minds discuss events; great minds discuss restaurants.”
—Attributed to Fran Lebowitz.

With some notable exceptions, “museum food” doesn’t have a great reputation. My meal at the Kunsthistorisches was not one of those exceptions. The drink and the beef goulash were forgettable at best, but I wasn’t there for the food.

I was there for the room.

The magnificent Café at the Kunsthistorisches Museum is one of the Great Rooms, the kind of place that reminds you that you’re in one of the old imperial cities of Europe.

Image found on the Web.

Image found on the Web.

Pictures don’t begin to convey the breathtakingly beauty of this room.


Oh, yeah. One other thing…

I almost forgot to mention: The Bruegel exhibition?  Oh, It was glorious!

Look Closer

No, it’s not a shoddy Photoshop job. It’s intentional, and you’ve got to admire its effectiveness.

Variations of this ad have shown up in DC Metro stations over the past month or so. I suspect that no more than one person in a hundred really looks at subway advertisements, let alone remembers them five minutes later. This one, though, gets noted and reposted.

The image, combined with the emphasized and unsubtle “DTF” text* make it memorable.


*If you don’t know what  “DTF” means, look it up in the Urban Dictionary.

“Five Years, That’s All We’ve Got”

Well, that was fast…

I started posting these notes five years ago today, and 1,645 postings later, I’m still at it. Today I took a look at some of the items I ran during my first few weeks online.

Some Things Haven’t Changed


Music Videos

Here’s the first video I ever posted: “70 Million”, by the Paris-based, Franco-American band Hold Your Horses.

It was complemented by another video about the inspirations for the images in the “70 Million” video. Try playing them simultaneously.

Still posting music, and still love this one.


Saying Goodbye to Breaking Bad

Was it really five years ago? For me, Breaking Bad was the Greatest Series Ever, and I still post about it at the drop of a pork pie hat.

No change; still obsessed.


Anglophilia

Rule Britania.

Dorothy Parker said she hated to talk to people from the UK, because they made her feel like she should be carrying a papoose on her back. I, on the other hand, am a pushover for anything said in one of the 684 recognized British accents.

And I love British comedy. Here’s Chris Turner, performing at The Glee Club, Cardiff:

Still a passionate Anglophile, still posting a disproportionate number of entries about the UK, even though Britain’s future looks grim, because of the self-inflicted damage resulting from Brexit. But then, it’s probably inappropriate for an American to criticize Brexit, since that was only the second most idiotic electoral result of 2016.


Restaurant Week

Summer Restaurant Week 2013 was what gave me the incentive to start blogging, and gave me the material I needed to get through the first few weeks.

Still at it. Posting Summer Restaurant Week 2018 pictures over the next two weeks.

 Some Things Have Changed, Thank God


On the left, the first Home Cooking picture I ever posted, long before my self-improvement Cookery Project started in 2016. On the right, the most recent Home Cooking picture

2013’s Poached Halibut and Asparagus with Basil-Tarragon Sauce vs 2018’s Cajun Chicken and Rice

I remember being so proud of the halibut, because I’d never poached fish before that.

I think my skill set and style have improved since then.


Much more to come in the next five years!